8. Alvaro Morata
A return of 24 goals in 48 starts looks eminently respectable. It compares favourably to anyone else on this list. And yet consider that six of those goals came early on, that a missed penalty on Morata’s debut helped cost Chelsea the Community Shield, that he got more cards than bookings in the second half of last season and that he lost his place to Olivier Giroud.
Now a £58 million signing has the strange distinction of being the most expensive player to be loaned out at the moment.
7. Gonzalo Higuain
Under Maurizio Sarri, Higuain has scored a joint record number of Serie A goals in a season; 36 for Napoli. Under Sarri, the Argentine has scored against two sides that won't even be in next season’s Premier League. Three of his four league goals to date have come against Huddersfield and Fulham, before he added his latest against Burnley on Monday night.
A big name looks rather too sizeable – an immobile, ineffectual presence in attack – while Eden Hazard combines far better with Giroud. Still, that record against Huddersfield and Fulham could encourage Championship clubs to sign him – if they can afford to…
6. Fernando Torres
Signed for a then-British record of £50 million and departed for nothing. Torres was loaned out to get rid of him, and his Chelsea career felt ill-fated from the start. His debut was a defeat to old team-mates at Liverpool, he failed to score in his first 13 games and never gelled with the totemic Didier Drogba. Managers from Carlo Ancelotti to Jose Mourinho struggled to accommodate him.
On the plus side, he scored in the 2013 Europa League Final, after capping Chelsea’s against-all-odds triumph in the Camp Nou with the clinching goal in that stunning Champions League semi-final.
5. Mateja Kezman
When you have a blank cheque and the remit to sign whoever you want, who do you buy? Mourinho’s answers included Kezman. In the Special One’s defence, one of his striking signings in 2004 – Drogba – became arguably Chelsea’s greatest player. Another didn’t.
Kezman had scored 78 goals in his last two seasons at PSV Eindhoven. He scored seven for Chelsea, and one of those came against Scunthorpe. At least he struck in a League Cup final win over Liverpool.
NEXT: The man signed by the manager to replace... the manager?
4. Adrian Mutu
Under other circumstances, Mutu would be deemed proof that prolific Serie A strikers lost some of their scoring touch at Stamford Bridge. And indeed, six goals in 27 top-flight games feels underwhelming.
Yet the reality that Chelsea sacked him, after he tested positive for cocaine, gives him a unique distinction. And while courts have ordered Mutu to repay Chelsea his £15.8 million transfer fee, he keeps appealing the decision. They may not have the money yet.
3. Radamel Falcao
Falcao was a dreadful signing for Manchester United – and yet he still scored four times as many goals for them as he did for Chelsea. Even his solitary strike counted for nothing: it came in a defeat to Crystal Palace.
The Colombian became an emblem of the “Mourinho season”; of wretched signings and underachievement. Chelsea lost six of the 12 games Falcao appeared in and, when his injury problems recurred, he was left out of their Champions League squad for the second half of the campaign.
2. Chris Sutton
There was a time when £10 million was a lot of money. That time was 1999, when Gianluca Vialli signed Sutton to replace an ageing, iconic striker: himself. Sutton took Vialli’s No.9 shirt.
But he made Chelsea less potent. They scored a mere 53 league goals, 44 fewer than Manchester United. Sutton’s lone league strike came in a 5-0 rout of United; otherwise, he only found the net against Hull City and Skonto Riga, and left for a £4 million loss after a season of three goals.
1. Andriy Shevchenko
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Chelsea had won back-to-back league titles with Drogba spearheading a 4-3-3 formation. Then Roman Abramovich signed Shevchenko, Mourinho ended up dropping his wingers in an attempt to accommodate the owner’s favourite, and Chelsea’s formidable formula was disrupted.
It hardly helped that they didn’t get the feared, fantastic Shevchenko – scorer of 28, 26 and 28 goals in his last three seasons for Milan – but an altogether inferior figure. Their £30 million outlay brought just 23 goals in 77 Chelsea games.
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